Before the third meeting of the Senate’s expert commission on the referendum on “expropriate German housing and co” (DW expropriate) planned for Thursday, there has been criticism of the way they work.
The body works in secret, the Senate resolution on transparency is “simply not being observed,” said Gisèle Beckouche, spokeswoman for the initiative on Wednesday.
In a press release sent the day before, the activists had accused the authority of urban development senator Andreas Geisel (SPD) of “failure” and criticized the fact that all information about the time, content and nature of the commission’s work remained hidden from the public.
Geisel “obviously doesn’t have his own administration under control,” it said. After all, it is the task of the Commission office set up in his authority to ensure transparency.
Geisel himself was surprised and explained: “I assume that the expert commission with its office will comply with this transparency in accordance with the rules of procedure and will publish the dates of the meetings on the homepage.”
Press spokesman Martin Pallgen added: “This is an independent expert commission that is not within our competence to issue instructions.” So far, neither the determination made in the Senate’s decision to appoint, according to which the commission works “in principle publicly”, has been implemented, nor has the homepage mentioned by Geisel been published .
The chairman of the commission, the former federal justice minister Herta Däubler-Gmelin (SPD), announced around four weeks ago that a website would go online “very soon, probably in the course of the coming week” and that reports, statements, minutes and “many publish useful information”. Nothing has happened since then.
“The Commission’s website will be discussed in its upcoming meeting on Thursday” and will probably be activated after the meeting, it said on Wednesday.
André Moschke, who heads the office, explained that the website should first be approved by the commission members. According to information from the Tagesspiegel, Däubler-Gmelin personally ensured that information such as the rules of procedure and the work plan of the commission are not published before the commission makes a corresponding decision. A corresponding email is available from the Tagesspiegel.
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Moschke explained that the likewise non-public agenda for the meeting planned for Thursday afternoon in the Max Planck Society’s Harnack House, which will take place behind closed doors, will include the start of content-related consultations on legal issues.
According to reports, this is about Article 15 of the Basic Law, which regulates the socialization of land and natural resources and means of production.
The meeting is scheduled to continue on Friday morning. Following this, subject to the approval of the members of the Commission, the eagerly awaited homepage should be published.